LIVERMORE FALLS — Mike Lee held a 5-gallon bucket and plastic bag in one hand, and used a tool he held in his other hand to pick up trash along the side of the road.
The 46-year-old Livermore Falls man is in his third year of cleaning up a stretch of both sides of Route 133, also known locally, as Park Street.
“It’s getting easier every year,” he said Tuesday as he took a break to talk.
About eight years ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was the same day, his mobile home on Hinkley Hill burned.
“I’ve been disabled every since,” Lee said. “It ain’t like I can go out and do a regular job. This is my way of giving back. There ain’t too many people who would do this. It needs to be done. If everybody would just give a little back, it would get done.”
The section of road he cleans gets longer every year. He goes down to the bottom of the steep embankments along the road and climbs up to the top to clean near the guardrails and the upper level of the road.
Last year he went from Allen’s TV down to the intersection of Route 17. It is more than a mile one way.
“I pick up anything and everything,” from tires to cigarette butts, he said.
Last year, the town gave him $20 for trash bags. This year, he was given a pair of gloves and trash bags.
When he gets it all picked up, he pays someone to take the trash to the dump, he said.
People continue to tell him that he does a good job, even a year after he did it, he said.
“That encourages me,” he said. “I’m just out here trying to give back.”